In Loving Memory of Jean Blaise Kikudi

It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to one of our own, Jean Blaise Kikudi. Jean went home to be with the Lord the end of September at the age of 52. He was employed at The Hope Center as an evening deskman/security for our emergency men’s shelter. But his is the story of God’s transformational love and the visible manifestation of what God is doing in the lives of those who step foot into The Hope Center.

Volunteer Appreciation 2013 019 (2)Jean Blaise was born in the summer of 1966 in the Congo. He earned a BS in Economics and became a naturalized US citizen in February of 2003. Unfortunately Jean Blaise found himself in some trouble and was convicted of a felony and was paroled to The Hope Center. When he first arrived he wanted nothing to do with The Hope Center and it was obvious that he did not want to be here. But in September of 2009 he applied for enrollment to Foundations Life Recovery, our 13-month rehabilitation program. On December 1, 2009, Jean was officially entered into the Foundations program to start getting his life back on track.

During his time as a resident in Foundations, Jean totally changed as God began to doDSC_1390 (2) major work in his life. God worked in his life and Jean’s attitude and personality were completely transformed. What was once a scowl on his face became a huge, infectious smile. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here!” Jean was not afraid to share his story of transformation and his testimony was incredibly inspiring and one that encouraged the other men in our Foundations program to continue fighting the fight to recovery. Jean completed the program and graduated on April 15, 2011.

Following his graduation he became employed at The Hope Center. He continued to be involved with The Hope Center in other ways including singing with the residents when visiting churches, attending other Foundations Life Recovery graduations, and helping anywhere he could. In addition to helping at The Hope Center, Jean was very involved with his church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hagerstown.

Jean BlaiseIf you’ve ever volunteered at The Hope Center, especially for the evening chapel and community meal, or had hosted our residents at your church you’ve probably seen Jean and his big pearly smile. Jean was a great man who came from a very good family and almost lost it all until God did an incredible work in his life.

We are so deeply saddened by the death of Jean Blaise but it is the promise that God gives us of eternal life that helps us deal with the sudden loss of our graduate, coworker, and most importantly, our friend. His death was shocking and difficult to process but we all have the hope that he’ll be waiting for us with his huge smile as God calls us home one day.

To each of you who have supported The Hope Center by praying, financially sponsoring, donating gently used items, volunteering, hosting food drives, or being involved in any other way, you were a part of helping to change Jean’s life for good. He may never have met each of you and you may never have known him, but God used you to help bring Jean to him and now Jean is singing the song of victory.

Thank you for supporting us as we work each day to help people like Jean. Your support helped save a man and change his life completely. Thank you for caring and sharing. God used your gift and turned it into an investment of eternal proportions.

To God be the glory!

 

Advertisements

Wildside’s Birthday Bash Kicks Off the Party Season!

Imagine one giant party to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Sounds kinda wild, doesn’t it? Well Wildside Youth Ministries likes to do things a little different so they kicked off their school year party season with a huge birthday party celebration!

All the kids who attended the Birthday Bash on September 25th were able to celebrate their birthday. Each month was given a celebration and no one was left out of the fun! 52 kids ages 5-12 attended the first Wildside party of the season where they played birthday themed carnival games, painted faces, made crafts and enjoyed some great food.

But the most important part of the evening was learning about having the most important birthday: a spiritual birthday. The kids in attendance learned all about the importance of being born again and following Jesus.

Wildside is the youth ministry at The Hope Center. In addition to monthly large event parties during the school year, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings during the school year as well as The Crew which is the student leadership development program for older kids in the program. And each summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp for kids in July & August. All Wildside activities are free for kids ages 5-12. Learn more about Wildside and upcoming events by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Your financial donations to The Hope Center help fund these important activities for kids in Hagerstown. We are able to keep Wildside and our other programs and services for free for our guests because of generous and faithful supporters in our community. Thank you for your support of The Hope Center as we continue to reach everyone in our community – even kids – for Christ!

Want to learn more about donating or volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to get all the info you need on how to become a partner with us.

Wildside’s Birthday Bash!

Who doesn’t like a great birthday party?? Wildside is kicking off their party season with a mega birthday party!!

20183 Birthday Invite BKids are invited to celebrate with Wildside on Tuesday, September 25th from 5-7pm at the Trinity Center at The Hope Center.

There will be plenty of fun for all party guests including carnival games, prizes, dodge ball, basketball, and food!

And did we mention this event is free??!!!! That’s right – it’s free for any kid ages 5-12. Please just call or email to register. Complimentary transportation is provided but limited so don’t delay registering especially if transportation is necessary.

Call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register. To learn more about Wildside Youth and all activities throughout the year visit http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Happy Independence Day, America!

There’s just something about Independence Day that just makes you feel down right good.

USA 2

Whether it’s the cookouts with the family, basking in the warm summer sun, jumping into a refreshing pool, or gazing into a sky glittered with dazzling fireworks, the Fourth of July is the crown jewel of the summer break.

statue of liberty

And while it’s a great day to celebrate all that is summer, Independence Day is one to be remembered as a the day that God sparked a fire inside the hearts of brave men & women to stand up and chart their own destiny.

The Fourth of July is a celebration of rebellion against tyranny, oppression and a victory of the rights of man. Our founding fathers put their lives on the line so that their children and future generations of Americans would be able to live free and successfully without an oppressive government controlling every detail of their lives.

Today we celebrate all that it means to be free, to be American. We have been given the opportunity, within reason, to choose our own path and be whomever we want to be.

But on this day of celebration against tyranny, we can’t forget that the real fight is not yet over. This is not the fight against man, it’s the fight against spiritual tyranny.

So many of our fellow Americans are not free because of various opportunities or choices made. They are bound by seriously destructive sins. They are being controlled by a tyrant of epic proportions whose whole goal is their destruction.

And that’s why we’re here. The Hope Center values freedom. We want people to be free spiritually to be all that God intended them to be. Whether their choices left them addicted, homeless, broke, hungry, angry, alone, scared, desperate or confused, we’re here to tell them about true freedom, freedom in Christ.

We want them to know that God has written, for them, a Declaration of Independence and signed it in the blood of Christ. They’re already free from sin. God already fought the enemy and won the victory. All they need to do is choose.

At The Hope Center we help them understand that they are not alone. We want them to know that mistakes, bad choices, unfortunate circumstances don’t dictate their spiritual freedom for eternity. We don’t force anyone to choose, but we don’t hide the truth from them. Just like our Founding Fathers wanted, they are free to make their own decisions, and we are here to help them choose wisely.

As you join with your family & friends to celebrate America’s independence, remember to pray for those who are still battling for their own independence from sin. Pray that Satan will lose his grip on their hearts and minds. Pray that our staff & volunteers will show them the love, compassion and understanding that is needed to win this fight.

Thank you for helping us help others. Through your prayers, donations, financial support, and volunteer hours you have helped us continue to fight the good fight and encourage, help and heal those who are hopeless and lost. We appreciate and value your contributions to The Hope Center and all the various ways that your generous heart has helped us change lives for Christ!

July-4th

Enjoy your holiday with those who are important to you! Thank God for your freedom! And pray for those still searching for their own day of independence!